Currently Browsing: Uncategorized

Detour Ahead

Signs: STOP, no right, no left, no back, no ahead, wrong way, do not enter

I should really have learned by now to be very, very careful about making plans. I’ve always laughed about the old truism that “the best way to make the gods laugh is to tell them your plans,” and yet it’s consistently played out as actual truth in my life. In the current circumstance, a tooth my dentist had been keeping an eye on for the past year went from OK to bad over the course of the past month. This was heralded by two weeks of migraines, and then necessitated oral surgery to remove the offending tooth. Unfortunately, it was so riddled with old cavities and new rot that it shattered in the socket, so the surgeon had to do a lot of digging to remove all the shards. Which means recovery has not been quick or easy either.

Meantime, hubs took a bad tumble and cracked a rib and nearby cartilage, so he’s been in excruciating levels of pain as well.

And we’ve been pulling out all the stops to prepare for his first album release in 20+ years. Since neither of us was completely incapacitated, we managed to set up his Bandcamp site, update his musician site, and do all the necessary marketing to promote the gig that will officially mark the music’s release. In fact, if you’re in the DC area, I will strongly encourage you to join us this Friday for an evening of excellent, thoughtful music provided both by him and our good friends, the Slambovian Circus of Dreams.

In those moments of free time I’ve carved out, I haven’t had enough brain to write, but I have been reading. A lot. I’ve blown past my second revised GoodReads goal. And read quite a few articles. One by a popular author in SFF, Mary Robinette Kowal, reviewed all the ways women have had to overcome structural hurdles built into the NASA space program to even be able to get into space in the first place. Another one relevant to the book currently languishing in chapter-one-land, is that the Bystander Effect is not quite the negative thing people imagine it to be… though this was proven by reviewing surveillance footage, so the irony that the Nanny State is how we learned this is not lost on me.

Then there was the fascinating study that showed a tree stump with no external signs of life, was actually fully integrated into the New Zealand forest where it was found. The study speculated that the dead tree might have integrated its root systems with others, and was therefore actually more like “retired” than dead, and that there could be benefits to the surrounding forest and ecosystem to have these kinds of stumps.

In my mind, that somehow links up with the study that shows when lovers touch, their breathing and heartbeats sync, while pain wanes.

That last has been helpful to hubs and I as we nurture each other through our wounds, but in a broader way, reaffirms some of the principles found in Romancelandia, where a happily ever after forms the bedrock of the genre. Acknowledging the power of connection–whether between plants or animals–and its ability to transform individual experiences, provides such a rich playground for my imagination. Now I just have to find my way back to the writing path to explore what research results hint at.

Human Rights and the Writer

Blog Action Day
It’s been a busy week for me already, so I’m taking some time out to reflect on a topic that affects us all: human rights. Whether we acknowledge the history that has allowed us the power to vote, associate, or stay healthy and work, and notwithstanding the comprehensive statement any participant nation in the UN has signed on to with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, too many forget that these rights exist for ALL, and have been gained at many times at terrible cost. For my story-writing self, this is rich fodder; for my friends who are still in limbo on whether their marriages will be recognized… or for women who seek equality under the law… or for victims of human trafficking who are stuck in slavery… the reality is that we have a long way to go before even the basics outlined in that document become universal in the way they were intended.

As my friend, critiquer, and fellow blogger Sabrina Garie points out in her post on the topic, our ability to expose these contradictions in our stories can help individual readers wrestle with those same issues. I suspect we all hope that our entertainment efforts plant a few seeds of consciousness in our audience so they’re not as automatically unconscious about how they treat their fellow beings. As another friend and blogger, Kasia James, points out, by listening to and understanding each others’ stories, we gain empathy and true compassion. In my experience, it’s when we truly internalize those characteristics that we not only gain tolerance, but also the strength to join the fight for those who still need our help in attaining what some few already have.

My experiences growing up around the globe have shown me that by and large, individuals are not that different. We’re all looking for satisfaction in our lives, work, and relationships. Differences of opinion and belief for the most part boil down to varying approaches to handle the same core issues: What is the meaning of our existence and how do we align ourselves in such a way as to maximize our capacity to fulfill our goals. As an Anne McCaffrey reader and Star Trek fan, internalizing the utopian view of a meritocracy where regardless of skill, basic needs are always met, has had a profound impact on my own sense of justice and equality. It is my hope that someday, some nuggets from my own stories push others in the same way.

Many bloggers are participating in today’s Blog Action Day; I encourage you to read what they have to say–and especially to visit Sabrina and Kasia.

Caveat Emptor: Worthless Sealy Warranty – Mattress Review

Sealy Posturepedic Mattress

Exhibit A for the definition of Buyer Beware

I’m not a great complainer. I tend to view the world through rose-colored glasses. So when I run up against head-scratchingly bad decisions, I generally opt to raise the conversation at the next higher point of decisionmaking. Typically, another perspective resolves the issue and either helps me understand what the problem is in my viewpoint, or changes the previous decision.

This set of guidelines has served me well in my life, and has been validated in both of the first two MBA classes I’ve taken.

In particular, when you market your product as solving customer issues (in my case, that a latex-core mattress will reduce my allergy symptoms, and mine and my husband’s back problems, that had resulted from our old mattress’ springs failing), you build up a certain level of enthusiasm and good will. When your sales people assure your customers that this is a 20-year mattress, with a 10-year warranty to stand behind its quality and worth as an investment, and that despite the fact that you will sweat more because of the nature of the latex mattress, using a standard mattress pad will protect your investment sufficiently, then please, let these words be your company’s truth. After all, this is a not-insignificant investment that should only come around once every 15 to 20 years.

We loved our mattress for 5 years. We took normal and recommended care of it. And we sweated a lot. Because of this, there are sweat stains on the mattress. Because we took seriously the “do not expose to liquid” injunction, and the “it’s fine so long as you use a mattress pad” explanation, we shrugged about the stains.

Apparently, those are now the reason Sealy does NOT stand behind its warranty.

I’ve just spent the better part of two weeks going round in circles first with the store (who sent out an inspector with complicated measuring devices and confirmed that the foam had collapsed 1.5″ on one side and 2″ on the other–far outside their warranty’s parameters) and then the Sealy home office.

Their final word:

For the reasons listed in the email above and outlined in your warranty it’s never pleasant to disappoint our consumers, however we must inform you based on the limited warranty your mattress can not be replaced. We feel the decision of your retailer, The Boston Store, was the correct decision based on the information provided.

The reason I went through the second round of information trading was because there WAS NO LIQUID SATURATION. It was sweat-stained as part of normal wear and tear, after careful protection with both high-quality mattress pads and sheets.

So I’m posting this warning to any potential Sealy customers: The company is in the business of producing a product that will seem great for a short while. Just long enough to make sure you’ve sweated enough to ensure that their warranty is not worth the paper it’s printed on.

Meantime, we’re back to having back issues. Does anyone have a recommendation for a better mattress?

Teaser Tuesday: Water for Elephants

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading (she also hosts some other great memes). (And I found out about it via Cabin Goddess…) Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

So. Without further ado:

I spend the night on a crumpled horse blanket against the wall, as far from the cot as I can. The blanket is damp. Whoever covered the slats when they turned this into a room did a lousy job, so the blanket’s been rained on and reeks of mildew.

This one caught my curiosity because the Hollywood machine decided to turn it into a movie: Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen.

Water for Elephants

The writing is evocative, but nothing like what I was expecting based on the random trailers I’d seen, so it’s been sitting on my desk for a few weeks while I try to finish editing my book to meet my deadlines… So the review is likely to be a few weeks off yet.

😉

Related articles

Win a Kindle Fire and Amazon Gift Card

How? Easy peasy. Head on over to winwithebooks.com or the Facebook fanpage and follow the directions on the Rafflecopter. Check back daily for 50 extra chances to win.no purchase necessary

Congratulations to Chris from Ohio who won the Kindle Fire in December!

You can also run the Rafflecopter link

Once your direct link is received, your blog will be tweeted, shared, and plused!

If you can’t use Rafflecopter, just link back to winwithebooks.com

Only through tomorrow, Wednesday February 15th, join myself and WinWitheBooks offering you 20 great books from various genres for only 99 cents! Come have fun, get a book or two or three and discover great new book bloggers to boot. Check out the posts that have been happening since the beginning of February under my Indie Promotions for what I have shared. At the bottom of each are links to other’s posts that share authors and reviews! Follow winwithebooks on Twitter  (also everyone sharing the with #winwithebooks) For those that think I might slack with my food related blogging? Think again! I have had and am still have some amazing surprises up my sleeves, so sign-up for email delivery or bookmark me and remember to check back often! I have some great stuff lined up for everyone!

« Previous Entries

  • RSS
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • NetworkedBlogs
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • Blip.fm
  • Delicious
  • Pinterest